Tour Report on 25 March 2017, Saturday
- East Gardens of the Imperial Palace
We thank many guests from all over the world. On that day we welcomed 50 people from U.K., USA, Deutschland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Israel, Canada, Chiles, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, France and Mexico. We divide into 7 groups.
The weather was fine but cold despite the season. According to the calender, winter has already finished and it is turning to spring.
This tour was actually last tour in Japan’s fiscal year of 2016, which began in April of 2016. March is closing month of fiscal year. Businesses change terms and human resources in this month. In schools graduation ceremonies are held.
Young women in kimono with long skirt, called Hakama walked on streets in the city. They attended graduation ceremony of their colleges. One of occasions modern Japanese wear kimono.
In the East Garden, cherry-blossoms are yet to bloom. In truly spring time, we can view beautiful full-bloom of cherry blossom trees from the turf in the garden.
But in the feudal time, the turf area was occupied by wooden-house compound, called Honmaru. It was the castle building for Tokugawa Shogunate (governance by the master of all Samurai lords in Japan, actual ruler appointed and entrusted by Emperor). Now no remains of the castle stand but stone bases, a stone celler and guard houses.
It is important to imagine what kind of castle stood on the turf area. In suburb of Tokyo named Kawagoe, there was one remaining feudal lord castle. The area is nicknamed “Ko-Edo (Little Edo).” Edo is former name of Tokyo city. It takes 1 hour and 10 minutes to get to Kawagoe Station from Tokyo Station, transportation fee is around 700 yen. A facility named “Honmaru-goden” is smaller scale of what the castle in the East Garden was. Admission fee is only 100 yen.
It tells appearance, layout, and interiors of typical feudal lord castle houses as residence and office. Only one story building. A multi-layered tower was only for observatory and show-off purpose and placed on stone base, not on the ground.
Interesting thing to find is only thing that shielded occupants from coldness during winter was paper screen. The temperature was no different from outside.
Kawagoe not only has the castle remain but the old marchant town which succeeded feudal era style, called “Kura-no Machi (Warehouse Town).” Magnificient street view can be seen, which can be expressed as Japanese Gothic.
It is highly recommended to visit Kawagoe before or after joining the tour. Anyone can time slip to the middle age Japan.
Next tour will be held in new fiscal year 2017. Meet us in the brand new period!